St. James’ Outreach Ministries flow out of our common worship life together. As a parish community, we are committed to the pursuit of justice and peace for the sake of our community and the larger city of Baton Rouge. To that end, St. James is also pleased to partner with local organizations to support individuals experiencing various needs. The Outreach Committee consists of a chair, At-Large, and Ex Officio members, as well as representatives from the Vestry and Associate Vestry.
Community Connections Sunday
Last Sunday of the Month
Bishops Hall, 8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
Community Connections Sunday is a multi-faceted offering facilitated by the Outreach Committee for our downtown neighbors in need. A full, warm breakfast is provided, as well as access to pantry staples provided by the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. Other support services rotate and are on hand too. These include EBR Library, Healthcare Navigator, basic health screenings by a doctor, and seasonal vaccine access. Volunteers of all ages can expect to assist in welcoming and serving guests in a variety of capacities; sign-ups will be distributed in advance. Contact: Larry Mitchum and Doug LeBleu.
St. James Christmas Feast
Sunday, December 17
The Annual St. James Christmas Feast takes place each year in December and serves up a delicious holiday meal to guests. Gift bags, including basic health and cold-weather items, are also distributed. Akin to the Community Connections Sunday, the St. James Food Pantry and other support organizations are on hand. The Feast takes place in Bishops Hall, and volunteers assist in greeting and dining with guests, serving food and drinks, and distributing groceries. Contact: Emily Kelly
VIPS Reading and Math Friends
St. James Episcopal Church and VIPS formed a Collaborative Partnership at Park Elementary. VIPS Reading Friends provide one-on-one literacy support to their assigned student weekly but they are much more than a tutoring program.
We Care Bags
We Care bags are simple snack bags made available to our neighbors who are hungry. In late 2022, St. James began a partnership with the EBR Library System to offer bags to younger library patrons in need. Currently, approximately 100 bags are delivered per week to the Main Library (7711 Goodwood Blvd.). Volunteers assist in filling and delivering bags. Allyson and Tommy Cunningham oversee the ministry, regularly restocking supplies and assisting in deliveries. Contact: Allyson and Tommy Cunningham
October 22 and February 18
In addition to these regular ministries, St. James’ Outreach Committee is pleased to continue the bi-annual “Serve Sundays” over the course of the 2023-24 program year. Serve Sundays are dedicated to providing parishioners of all ages opportunities for impactful service projects, both here at St. James and throughout the community. Previous Serve Sunday projects have included: an activities day at a group home (Volunteers of America); lunch pack (St. Vincent de Paul); trash pickup and beautification (TULIPA); and filling We Care bags. A list of projects will be published in advance of the dates for parishioners to sign up.
Seasons of Giving
For the 2023-24 program year, St. James Outreach is pleased to continue the Seasons of Giving collections in partnership with local organizations that support our local community. These three collections will occur throughout the year and are easy ways for the larger St. James community to participate in important work. A collection in July is dedicated to downtown-area schools in advance of the school year. The November collection continues St. James’ longstanding Angel Tree drive, providing holiday gifts for individuals and families, while a spring Lenten collection will run in conjunction with an organization to be determined.
Single-day Outreach Opportunities
In addition to the above, the Outreach Committee periodically makes available opportunities for service, as needs arise in our community and beyond. New this year will be an MLK Day of Service on January 15, dedicated to the critical and ever-timely work of justice and peace. Past single-day opportunities have included hurricane relief work in Thibodaux; neighborhood cleanup in collaboration with Keep Louisiana Beautiful’s Love the Boot week; and volunteering at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.